CHA News Article

EMTALA Manual Features New Chapter on Psychiatric Emergency Patients

EMTALA — A Guide to Patient Anti-Dumping Laws helps hospitals and physicians navigate the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Updated by M. Steven Lipton of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC, the CHA manual now includes a chapter covering EMTALA for psychiatric emergency patients. “CMS has reported that issues regarding psychiatric patients have high visibility for potential EMTALA violations,” stated Sheree Kruckenberg, CHA vice president, behavioral health. “To help hospitals address the complexities of applying EMTALA to psychiatric patients, an entirely new chapter has been added to the EMTALA manual.”

Issues discussed in this chapter include psychiatric patient medical screenings in emergency departments, psychiatric emergency medical conditions (EMC), obligations of non-designated hospitals without psychiatric services or on-call coverage to provide a medical screening exam, 5150 holds, when a patient with a psychiatric EMC is considered “stabilized” for transfer, hospital obligations if there are pre-arranged local care networks for patient screening or treatment, and the intersection of EMTALA and state mental health laws, treatment networks and county rules. To view a complete list of topics covered in EMTALA and to order the manual, visit